My First Press Conference – Hillary Throws ‘Choice’ Stones at Obama

As I was working on another story yesterday, I stumbled across a Clinton press briefing. More on that later. The conference call was being run by senior Clinton adviser Ann Lewis, and was intended to highlight Hillary’s record on choice, and to contrast it with Barack Obama’s “present” votes. It was clear to me that I wasn’t going to get a comment for the story I was working on, so I was about to bail.

I didn’t even take notes on most of it, but apparently, Max Fullmer over at Huffington Post did. Key quote for me:

Obama, said senior Clinton adviser Ann Lewis, had voted “present” 129 times on a variety of bills, including those that she said would have protected the privacy of victims of sexual abuse, and strengthened state adoption laws.

“Presidents don’t get to vote present,” said senior Clinton adviser Ann Lewis.

After the jump, I’ll give you way TMI about the conference call, and I’ll explain how the Clinton campaign convinced me to endorse Mrs. Emma Peel for President.So, I was looking for a quote about Bob Johnson’s lame explanation of his anti-Obama remarks, and after calling both campaigns all day, I got an e-mail from the Clinton camp about a press briefing. Now, I knew what it was going to be about, but it was my first, and probably last, one. I figured it would be just like a regular press conference, where you just ask whatever question you want and they try to keep you on-message.

I dialed in, and the thing says, “Press 1 if you have a question.” So I do, and the automated voice says, “Your hand is raised.” Sucker, I thought, it totally isn’t!

So, as I’m waiting my turn, it becomes clear to me that if I ask about Bob Johnson, I’m just going to get hung up on. Everybody is staying completely on-message, even the reporters. So, I figure I should bail and try to get ahold of Obama’s camp one last time. But, see, as I was listening, it started to irk me the way Ann Lewis was bragging about Hillary’s “leadership” on choice. So, I figure, my hand’s already “raised”, lemme get a lick in.

So, when my turn came, I said, “I hear you bragging a lot about Hillary’s ‘leadership’ on choice, and I would like to know where that leadership was when it was time to filibuster the Alito and Roberts nominations.”

To me, a perfectly sensible question. What good is passing a bunch of choice laws if you won’t oppose the guys who want to eliminate Roe v. Wade?

She told me I was a little off-topic. What. Ever. Then, she told me they didn’t have the votes. I asked if I could have a quick follow-up question. You’d have thought I said, “Would you please pass the jelly?”

After reminding me again how little Supreme Court Justices have to do with choice issuees, she relented.

“So, let me clarify,” I said, “you’re saying that the definition of leadership is to only lead when everyone already agrees with you?”

Pretty much. She said you have to weigh whether your unsuccessful opposition will hurt your cause and diminish your political power. I don’t get that logic. Whose votes is that going to lose you? And how does giving these guys a pass hurt less than opposing them? If anybody had cover to do it, it was her.

So, based on this new definition of leadership, I give you my new candidate for President, Mrs. Emma Peel. She couldn’t get the votes to filibuster Alito or Roberts, either. She has led several successful filibusters against my living room rug, so she has a record to run on.

Look, I understand to a degree the tough spot the Democrats were in for a long time, and the need to be a little careful when you’re running for president. But then, don’t brag about it.

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